Courgettes and Hmong Pepper Sauce

Two weekends ago, Mom picked courgettes (aka zucchinis) and gave me quite a bunch. The baby ones were juicy and delicious grilled. The larger ones I boiled and bagged and froze for occasions when I want to have them with a meal. Mom did this when I was young and she still does it now. It’s convenient and keeps from wasting all these beautiful and mild flavored squashes.

The herbs and garlic were from Mom’s garden in her backyard. She gave me way too much spearmint that I decided to see if I could grow some in water. They seem to be sprouting roots so sounds positive. I’m not good at growing things unless it’s a plant in dirt, but even then, the plant needs to have strong roots otherwise they don’t live very long. The cilantro was the perfect amount to make four batches of Hmong pepper sauce.

As mentioned a few months back, my daughter’s boyfriend (who is African/British/Canadian) loves my Hmong pepper sauce. He eats it with everything so now when I make it, I make sure to pack some for him.

Scallion Pepper Sauce

My mother gave me a handful of scallions from her garden and I decided to make scallion pepper sauce with it.

These were so pretty I just wanted to look at them all day, however, I didn’t want them to go bad so I had to do something quick with them. I also couldn’t think of anything else to make with them since I don’t have a lot of food in my fridge at the moment. With hot pepper sauce, I could freeze it for later.

I had an extra bag of frozen Thai peppers in the freezer and some leftover cilantro from pho last week so they went into the mix. If I didn’t have frozen peppers, I would have used dried peppers.

I chopped everything up.

And used a mortal and pestle to mash it all up. I also added salt, fish sauce, and lime juice.

This made about a cup and a half.

Yum!

I put most of it in a container to freeze for later and put a little aside for the next few days.

But, my daughter and her boyfriend stopped by and her boyfriend loved it so I sent him off with a little bit. I told him he could always come back for more.

Snow and Breakfast

Happy first day of spring!

This morning, youngest daughter and I took husband to the airport. He is one of the ones who has to work during this crazy time. It’s hard to relax knowing he’s out there and could possibly get sick even though he is taking precautions.

Someone posted on Facebook this game: “For those working from home, tell me something about your kids, but refer to them as your co-workers, your spouse as your CEO, and your pet as your secretary.” Here’s what I wrote:

One co-worker refuses to come to the office. However, she says she’s helping another co-worker with his workload and thinks it’s going to take all year and then some. The other co-worker is in her office, but playing games and chatting on discord. The secretary is sleeping on the job and the CEO is out of town for a week.

Just a little something to ease the mind.

It was sprinkling rain on the drive to and from the airport. The visibility was on the bad side so I missed my exit and ended up taking the long way home…or “the scenic route” as I told daughter. When we reached home it was snowing. It looks pretty bad out there as I type. Made daughter scrambled eggs and myself French toast.

Took a photo of daughter while she was eating. I’ve been watching tutorials by Ali Edwards on capturing every day small moments. When my kids were younger, I did this quite often. Then, they got busy, and I got busy, and forgot how important it was to capture small things once in awhile.

Times like these often help me reflect. I guess it’s just a reminder to slow down and pay attention.

Homemade Pho

Eating up what’s in the pantry so I could make room for other dry and canned products. I’ve had these pho noodles for about six months and because herbs don’t last very long, I figured I could use up the herbs this way.

This pho is really easy to make. I pretty much boil any kind of beef (normally, I’ll use ox tail but they were out) then add beef broth and a few shakes of star anise powder along with some salt and pepper. If I have lemongrass, I’ll cut some up and throw it in there. That’s pretty much it. This is how my youngest likes her pho (with no herbs or hot sauce). She says I make the best homemade pho. She also says, I make the best kapoon, spaghetti, baked breaded chicken, baked salmon, scrambled eggs, etc.

Albuquerque, New Mexico

Happy LEAP DAY! Yesterday, I got a tooth pulled and a cavity filled. I was told to take it slow so that’s what I’ve been doing.

Last Friday, the family drove to Albuquerque, NM for daughter’s dance competition. It was about a seven hour drive. We arrived around 11:30pm and all went straight to bed. The competition was on Saturday and Sunday afternoons and evenings. We drove home Monday morning stopping at a pho restaurant for lunch before the seven hour drive back. Here are some photos from the trip.

Dumplings with Chili Sauce

I’ve been wanting to try dumplings with a really hot chili sauce for some time now all because of the food pics on Instagram. Earlier this week, I bought frozen veggie and chicken dumplings from the grocery store to try it out with the chili sauce I made following a recipe I Googled. It was pretty easy to make: combine dried crushed hot peppers and non-aromatic oil in a pan over medium heat for a few minutes. Let cool completely and jar. I had the dumplings with the chili oil and a bit of soy sauce (pictured). It was really tasty. Today, I made more and added dried shallots. It was even better. I’d say, this is one of the simplest and quickest tasty food ever.

2017 Favorites

The year flew by. I tried and failed at many things this year, but this last day of the year, I’m going to share the positive things, and my favorites.

The photo above is a dish I made trying out roasted purple cauliflower.  It’s hard to see but to the right of the salmon is purple cauliflower rice, which I made too. The fish is salmon sprinkled with fresh dill, paprika, garlic salt, black pepper, and topped with slices of limes.  I’ve never cooked with cauliflower before but I think this will be my new favorite thing because I really like the flavor and how easy it is to cook cauliflower.

I’m very proud to say that I accomplished two of my five goals this year.  One of them was to start school again…actually, to resume my master’s program from 2010.  So far, I’ve completed three classes and have four to go.  I’m going to try and load up on classes so that I finish by end of Spring 2018.  The other goal was to read 12 books.  I ended up reading 34 books.  A lot of it was due to freelancing as a book reviewer.  I was doing about three to four books a month starting in July.  I still read for leisure and still enjoy it

Here are my favorite books of the year:

1. Caraval by Stephanie Garber.  This was such a lovely and fun story with romance, magic, and suspense.

2. Boy’s Life by Robert McCammon.  This was a beautiful story told through the eyes of a young boy growing up in the 60’s.  The world building was fabulous.  I felt like I was right there with the boy.  The characters were well thought out and vivid.  McCammon really knows how to tug at your heart.

3. My Cousin Rachel by Daphne Du Maurier.  This was a well written classic about a man upset about the way his cousin died.  He was determined to get to the bottom of the mystery but somehow he becomes completely mesmerized by Rachel.  I saw the movie after reading the book and didn’t think it was as good.  If anything, read the book.


Can’t live without music.  For a sci-fi story I’ve been writing, I’ve got a few songs that go along with certain scenes.  Initially, I was going to submit the story to an anthology but I missed the deadline.  Okay, I have to remember I’m not going to focus on my failures (lol).  Anyway, here’s the cover for the book, and yes, that’s my pen name because I write different genres.

If you want to know a little about the story (the background story), you can check out my writing blog at, The Writing Sparrow.  It’s a new blog and I don’t have much there yet, but come 2018, there will be.

These are the songs that go with a few scenes in my story, but they are also favorites:

1. Immortal by Missing in Action

2. Last Hope by Antoine Heid (it’s just coincidence that my title has these two words in it).

3. Love on the Brain by Rhianna.

4. Elastic Heart by Sia

5. Wings (acoustic) by Birdy


I’ve been somewhat of a movie junkie this year.  I could barely count how many movies I’ve watched at the theater and at home.  It feels great to be able to watch all these movies.  When I had my two kids, I went into a strange zone where I couldn’t watch movies or even TV shows and not think everyone was pretending.  For some reason that bothered me to no ends.  Now, I’m relieved to say that even if they were acting, it’s no problem.  It doesn’t bother me one bit.  My favorite movies this year are:

1. Passengers

2. King Arthur – Legend of the Sword

3. Blade Runner

4. Star Wars – The Last Jedi

I didn’t do as much drawing and painted as I had wanted.  There’s just isn’t enough time to do everything so I’ve had to just focus on what mattered to me.  And, what mattered this year was getting my stories out.  I submitted a fantasy to an anthology earlier in the year but they are backed up so they haven’t gotten to telling the submitters who made it or not.  I also sent the same fantasy story to my professor who enjoyed it and gave me an “A.”

Thanks for stopping by and see you in the new year!

Nostalgic Snack

When I was a kid, Mom would make buttered tortillas for us (seven of us kids) for breakfast then send us on our way to grade school.  It has been a whirlwind raising my own kids.  They are super picky.  The older one doesn’t like tortilla with just butter.  She prefers quesadillas.  I’ve made a quesadilla for her once but I could never get the cheese amount exactly the way she likes it (but I think she likes it thick and gooey).  She didn’t complain but she hasn’t asked me to make it again.  As for my youngest, she doesn’t go near tortillas or cheese.

I like mine plain with butter just the way Mom made it.

tortillaandcoffee_800

 

Lunch With Husband

The girls are both officially in school for the 20016/17  school year and I am back to having more time for myself and with my husband on his days off work.  I remember when the kids were babies and toddlers and kept me on my toes.  Now, they rarely need me.  It’s nice but sometimes I wish they were still little.  I can’t believe my oldest started high school.  It will take me awhile to accept this giant step.  Anyhow, I’m really enjoying spending more time with Husband.  It kind of feels like we are dating again.

Having lunch at Q Doba:

BURBOWL08112016_650